There is the popular saying about how we shouldn’t try to reinvent the wheel, however it seems that researchers from the Seoul National University in South Korea have done just that. According to the reports, the researchers have managed to create an origami robot whose wheels will be able to expand or contract, depending on the situation at hand.
The wheel has been created based on the “magic ball pattern” when folding paper spheres in origami. The goal is to create wheels of different sizes depending on what is needed, so when trying to climb over large obstacles, the robot will be able to expand its wheel to climb over the object, or it will be able to shrink its wheel in order to crawl under tight spaces.
According to the wheel’s lead creator, Profession Kyu-Jin Cho, he claims that the robot’s wheels will be able to shrink down to a size of 2-inches and expand up to 4-inches per wheel. The robot will be able to automatically shrink or expand its wheel thanks to the sensors embedded in it that will let it detect its surroundings.
The researchers add, “No adjustment is necessary. If the origami wheels have too much load on them to rotate, they stall, and as the wheel hubs continue to turn, the wheels collapse, which increases their torque until they can move.” It will be interesting to see what kind of use this robot will have in real life, but for now the scientist believe that it will be useful for interplanetary rovers.
In the meantime you can check out the origami wheel robot in the video above to see it in action.